Monday, March 28, 2011

Risotto Cakes and Roasted Vegetables

Back from a lovely weekend where, as the Peens, we invaded Seattle for VegFest. To set the adventure off right, we rented a mini van. A. Big. White. Minivan. Because there is no other more fantastical way to travel than a minivan. Especially if it's huge and white.

And VegFest was basically awesome. And I don't even want to know how many calories I consumed in the form of as many teeny tiny portioned samples I could put in my mouth.

The Vegetarians of Washington did a great job at VegFest, enticing us all with lots of free things, a fabulous bookstore, classes, cooking demos and, of course, the endless bounty of samples to stuff your face with.

Oh, and the flag. And now Honey and I are officially members of the Vegetarians of Washington. I couldn't help it. I looked at the flag. I had to look at the Vegetarians of Washington flag in the front of the room.

More on VegFest and my favorite booths/people to come!

And now it's back in the kitchen. And I'm starting the week out with this amazing plate of roasted vegetables and risotto cake. It was fantastic. The richness of the tomato sauce paired with the crispy risotto cake and roasted vegetables was a winner. Enjoy!

Yield: 4-6 servings, depending on size

Extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2/3 cup white short grain rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups mushroom broth
10-12 shitake mushrooms, chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic granules
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 small zucchini, sliced down the middle then into about 1/2 inch pieces
1 red onion, cut in half then sliced into about 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium eggplant, sliced into about 1/2 inch rounds
1 red bell pepper, cut in half then sliced into about 1/2 inch pieces
About 2 cups tomato sauce (you can do jarred too)
Green onions, sliced, for garnish

If you are making your tomato sauce alongside everything else, start now. I recommend making it ahead of time though; to save yourself some time.

In a saute pan, heat olive oil and add yellow onion and garlic on medium/high heat. Saute for about a minute then add rice. Mix to combine then let cook for another minute or so.

Gradually add mushroom broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. As liquid is absorbed, continue to add more, 1/2 cup at a time until all liquid is incorporated and risotto is thick and creamy. Add a little salt, stir and transfer risotto into a bowl to cool.

In the same pan, heat a little more olive oil on med/high heat and add mushrooms. Let cook, stirring, until soft. As they cook, reduce the heat gradually. Add a little salt and pepper, stir and cook until fully soft. When soft, turn off heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees and in a small bowl combine basil leaves, garlic granules, salt and pepper.

On a baking sheet, combine zucchini, onions, bell pepper and eggplant. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle basil mixture on top. Using your hands, lightly toss veg to ensure they are all evenly coated.

Put veg in the oven and allow to cook for 10 minutes then rotate the baking sheet and roast another 10 minutes until veg is tender. Once done, turn oven off. You can leave the veg in the oven until it's time to plate.

While veg is cooking,  heat a skillet with a little olive oil. Scoop risotto into balls then put them on the skillet to cook. Once you put them down, gently press them into a thick cake. Let cook on each side for about 2-3 minutes or until crisp on both sides.

Prepare your tomato sauce by heating in a small sauce pan. Hopefully you have made it ahead of time, to save yourself some time.

To plate, start by ladling a bit of tomato sauce in the center of your plate.

On top of that, place one slice of roasted eggplant. On top of the eggplant, place a lovely crispy risotto cake.

From there, top your risotto cake with an equal amount of the other roasted vegetables.

Top roasted vegetables with sauteed shitake mushrooms then sprinkle some sliced green onions on top.

This is an intensely flavorful dish that is very easy to make and impressive to look at. To save yourself time, prepare your tomato sauce ahead of time. You could also pre-make the risotto cakes and heat them in the oven, if you're doing this for a dinner party.




  1. Whatever I do, I'll make sure to look at the flag!

  2. briarrose... thank you! They were super delicious :)

    Teri... definitely. You should definitely look at the flag :)



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